Another Ohioian trying to kickoff the hydrodip hobby with hopes of turning into part-time gig

kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member
Greetings all, and thanks to all who keep this forum active! I have been kicking around the idea of hydro-dipping for a few years but didn't have the time or space to get into it. I have recently moved and have a job that no longer requires travel, so its time to get serious about starting this. This forum has been such an asset already in the pre-planning a business as well as getting to know a lot about the process outside of the YouTube videos with rattle cans!
I'm located in Toledo and plan on starting this off as a hobby, figuring out the process, starting small and slowly growing allowing bigger and more complex dips! I plan on building a barn on the property within the next year and would hope to make a decent jump in tanks and equipment at that time as it will start off in the garage if all is going well.
I am an electrical/controls engineer by day that enjoys a challenge and have a DYI mentality. My plan to start this thing is to get one of those DYI kits (i know i know, give me all the grief you want) to see if this is something i really want to dive into. It's an art, and i compare it to my experience with drywall mudding. Everyone makes it look REAL EASY in videos, but when you go to do it, it doesn't go like that at all. I've had my try at that, and although it turned out well, it took a bunch of time to get it where i liked it! So with that said i would hire drywall mudding done in a heartbeat the next time! I want to make sure I don't have the same experience here before i front the investment for the CORRECT equipment. I'm planning to get a couple of utility sinks, one for dipping and one for rinsing to start off and play around with some speed shapes and basic junk laying around the house (or cheap light switch covers). If all goes well, i will grow from there, investing in a good paint gun, compressor, tanks, paints, films, etc. I would then start to use hydro-dipping to piggy back onto an existing business to create "custom" designed equipment as well as start taking on the small walk-in type custom work.
I know this is getting lengthy so i'll cut this off now. I'm hoping to take Mid-Ohio Hyrdographics up on his open-door policy before i get too deep into this and bounce some ideas and questions if that's still an option as he's mentioned in some threads. I would also be very intrigued at the K2 remote training with that's something that might be coming back Ohio some time soon to cut out the travel costs!
That's all for now, thanks again for the support and look forward to this adventure and guidance from forum members!
Kruppy!
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Comments

  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,896Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Welcome! Great to have you. I have some friends up in the Woodville area just SE of Toledo. We were just up there a couple weeks ago, so once you're all set up I may stop by next time we are up in that area.

    That being said, if you're ever in Mansfield? Stop on by! I don't really do training at my shop, other than @K2Concepts when he comes out (on that note, I've had a few requests for that to happen again. Maybe next year when I'm in my new shop?). But I like to talk and answer questions, so the door is open. Just give me a heads up to make sure I will be around.

    A couple things I would be hesitant of...

    (1) Go ahead a get a dip kit to start and have fun. No harm in that. But don't let it dictate whether you want to move forward or not. It's like painting a car with aerosol cans in your driveway to test the waters of an autobody/painting shop. Again, have fun and experiment, get your hands wet, it's just not the same.

    (2) Once you get over the dip kit excitement, and before you ever take on a paying job, get a compressor, spray gun, some reputable activator and film. If you even have a small compressor currently, one of @onehitwonder 's LVLP guns could get you started. You can also use OHW, Low Country, etc. out of aerosols for paint. Try to get a gun for clearcoat as well.

    (3) This process is difficult and expensive to do correctly (meaning, to produce a quality product that can go out the door to a paying customer). Depending on your plans for getting training, Plan on about 6 months to a year... or more... of practicing, spending money, having failed dips, and frustration before you ever think about taking on a paying job.

    Your tank and rinse idea will be fine to play with for now, but I would recommend a trough or something a bit larger for dipping. A garden hose over a drain is even ok for rinsing for now.


    Of course professional equipment is what you will need to make this a business... and the list is long and pricey. That being said, not really any more or less so than other businesses which require tools, trucks, a building, or other equipment. Get it in your head now if you really want to make it a business, and plan on about $15,000 to $30,000 startup costs for basic business-level equipment and supplies, not including the facility to work in.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,766Administrator El Jefe
    All of the above...and thank you for joining the forum...and yes keep an eye out...been a couple of minutes since I have been to Ohio so I would love to come back and get another remote class going...
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,896Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    They're starting the white interior metal sheeting in the new shop in 2 weeks... Really hope to be in there by mid summer, but we will see.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,766Administrator El Jefe
    Keep me posted...
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,879Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Hangover is finally wearing off from the last Ohio trip...
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member
    edited March 13
    @MidOhioHydrographics - Great points and I couldn't agree with you more. You're more then welcome to stop by anytime to check out what I've got going on! I'm actually located in Genoa, just north of Woodville. I'm always happy to talk as well and the fridge is always stocked. I'll play with the kit, likely with OHW's kit, and find a decent gun to continue to attempt dips. Sounds like a gun dedicated for activator would be first priority, followed closely behind with a couple paint guns, or at least one that can be cleaned between base and clear? I definitely plan on playing with the stuff for quite some time before doing any real customer/paying jobs. I've got a couple friends I've been talking to about trying some dips on things that don't really care if it gets ruined but will still be field tested. Sounds likes a remote class could be in the works at about perfect timing for me to have enough dips with some good trial and error. I'll have a millions more questions by then i'm sure! or most will be answered with my trials.
    I've already been looking at how to scale up for tank sizes, but since i'll be starting will small items, figured the utiltiy tubs are good place to start. Probably even try my hand at a bigger DYI tank setup before investing in the nice stainless tanks.
    I've always had a few different business ideas in my head, and am always prepared to pay the price to make it viable source of income if it gets to that point. The nice thing about this process (at least from my current view point in just getting into this) is that its scale-able, i can start off with the DYI/basics and grow into whatever i want/need. If i stop at hobbyist, then all the DYI is fine and the money spent on the equipment (compressor, guns, tanks, etc.) will all still get used. When starting with paying customers, i have the ability to accept or reject project based on size, complexity, etc. until i have the equipment to do it correctly. I'd be shooting myself in the foot, as well as the industry, by taking order for something that is any less then perfect when it leaves.
    Thanks guys for the welcome! I've got a lot more research to do for sure but at the same time eager to get started! You guys are a wealth of knowledge and you bet i'll be bugging you for more info and insight!
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,896Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Nice! I'll be sure to get in touch next time we are up that way.

    As far as the guns go, if you're doing any type of high-gloss finishes, I wouldn't recommend using the same gun for paint and clear. If you're sticking to matte clears, no harm. You just don't trash in your gloss clear from dried paint breaking loose. If you want my recommendation on best guns for their purpose?

    Devilbiss GPi for Activator (I like a 1.8)
    Iwata LPH400-LVX for Base (1.3 for solvent, 1.5 for waterborne like Aqualac or Hydro Solutions)
    Iwata Supernova or LPH400 for Clears (I like a 1.3 for gloss, a 1.4 for matte)

    But if you don't want to invest in a 60-80 gallon compressor, the LVLP guns from OHW are a great place to start and can run of a much smaller compressor.
  • DeviousDipsDeviousDips Posts: 1,856Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Welcome. I'm from Ohio as well. Got some family in Toledo and Perrysburgh
  • NickelCityHydroNickelCityHydro Posts: 706Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭
    Welcome to the forum!
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member


    If you want my recommendation on best guns for their purpose?

    Devilbiss GPi for Activator (I like a 1.8)
    Iwata LPH400-LVX for Base (1.3 for solvent, 1.5 for waterborne like Aqualac or Hydro Solutions)
    Iwata Supernova or LPH400 for Clears (I like a 1.3 for gloss, a 1.4 for matte)

    So i'm working on getting a large compressor as I have many uses for that anyway, so i might as well get the quality gun upfront too. I've been doing a lot of research on guns, and holy cow, why are there so many different variations for each make and model? LS vs WS, ENTECH vs EVOTECH, LVX vs LVP, vs LV, vs LVB. This is going to be the thing I pull my hair out on! I would really like to get a chance to try out a few different models, not that i don't trust your recommendations, i'm sure that's where i'd land anyway but i'm a research fanatic. Is there a good why to do this without having to buy and sell every type out there? I've actually come across a used supernova i'm debating on biting the bullet on but not sure its the right model i will need or not. I suppose, much like anything else once i learn the lingo and what's what i'm sure it easier to understand. Am i missing a thread on spray guns? Anyone point to a good place to get informed about the ins and outs of spray guns, with a particular interest in their use in hydrographics?
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,879Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    All guns essentially work the same way. Air breaks up the fluid stream into particulate and transfers it to the part. Some guns (like the GPI) do this REALLY well with very thin materials (like activator). Tip size determines how much material comes out of the gun when you spray, a larger tip puts out more material, requiring more air to break up the stream. This is useful with larger parts (like a car you would use a 1.5 tip, and a YETI cup would be fine with a 1.0 tip) so size the tip to the parts you will spray. More expensive guns get finer atomization with less overspray and less air consumption. So you get what you pay for, best advice (since they all work the same anyway) is get the correct number of guns you will need (activator, large clear, small clear,large base, small base, primer, metallic, and misc depending on your particular process) and LEARN your gun. I can make a mid level gun spray like an expensive one, but in the hands of a novice it still will spray like a mid level gun.

    Pick one and learn it.
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,896Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    As a side note, we used a 1.3 Satajet 4000 HVLP (a very nice, high quality spray gun) for a long time coating some firearm production with matte clear. We switched to a Supernova 1.4 tip and it saved us just over 20% on material usage due to transfer efficiency. Same person spraying the same number of parts. Pretty wild...
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,896Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    But you won't regret getting nice guns. Take care of them and they will last forever, and you can still resell them and get some decent $ back. You won't be able to sell a used Devilbiss Starting Line gun...
  • DeviousDipsDeviousDips Posts: 1,856Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    The supernova is an awesome clear gun. I use the lph400lv for paint. Devilbiss tekna prolites are another of my favorite clear guns
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member
    So i have a chance to purchase a Devilbiss Takna Copper with a couple nozzles (1.2 & 1.4, 1.3 needle, air cap, cup, and digital gauge for $225. Seems comparable to the prolites? Opinions on the gun at this price? I figure i'd pay that much for a starter gun. I actually contacted the guy because he had a prolite for sale too, but had already sold it.
  • DeviousDipsDeviousDips Posts: 1,856Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    @kruppy if u can pick up a real tekna copler for that price I would definitely jump on it. Make sure its the real deal tho .Alot of fakes out there. They spray aweaome
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,766Administrator El Jefe
    Be careful buying used guns...there are some deals but there is a lot of junk as well...
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member

    Be careful buying used guns...there are some deals but there is a lot of junk as well...

    I'll post some pictures up tonight, don't think i got taken on this one, but you never know. I'll get your expert opinions since i'm new to the industry. I was hesitant of a few guys selling guns as they just didn't seem right.

    I had to take a little break as I has some travel for work, but i'm back at it now. In addition to the gun, I've bought myself a single utility sink and a double utility sink. To get started in this, i'm just going to work out of these for now. I'll likely set them up with a pump, controller, heating element, and filter system later but i want to get a few dips under my belt first. Like i've said before, i'm going to be starting off with parts that will have no problem fitting in this size tank anyway and i can always drain often and refill from the house hot water tank in the interim. I've also got a hold of an Ignersoll Rand 7.5 HP 80 gal compressor for free, but of course it needs a couple parts to get it in running shape, so i'll probably have $750 or so into it.

    My biggest hurdle at this time is the painting. 1) I've never done any automotive painting like this requires, so i'm debating going through a class at the local trade school to learn the right setups and techniques before i learn any bad habits by trying it out myself. I've also got a few friends that paint that i'm hoping to get in touch with and learn the basics and get a couple sprays in. 2) I need to figure out how i'm going to spray at home. Currently i'll be working out of my non-heated garage. I'm worried about the over spray and everything else in the garage as well as the combustion, so it may be a fair weather hobby to begin where i can spray outside. I've been looking at the DYI spray booths and such and will likely start with a open bench type booth with external fans due to the small parts i'll be dipping. I'll also setup spray curtain when i go to this setup. Another option is there is a small shed at the end of my driveway that i currently don't use and was going to tear down once i build the new pole barn. The only problem hear is it's only wired for a 220v line as that's where the compressor sits and still is not heated. Not sure if a good exhaust system and heat lamps would work here or not... still investigating.

    The plan is to build a second shop type building at the house, but i was not planning any HVAC in this structure either. If this hobby grows into a viable business, i will likely add the HVAC controls and a REAL paint booth at that time. I've got the land to the expand this building as needed. I need to get good at all of this and make sure the customer base in there before I got that deep into this.

    Thanks again for all the help and insight so far, the forum and videos have been very helpful. I'll get some pictures added tonight so you can see my progress.
  • BCHydrographicsBCHydrographics Posts: 38Member
    @kruppy Watch the videos posted on the forum that @K2Concepts did with Jason @onehitwonder on setting your gun up and showing you how to apply paint. Great videos and will get you on the right track far as gun set up, your technique you will have to learn on your own to figure out what works for you. 
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,879Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    kruppy said:

    My biggest hurdle at this time is the painting.

    Correct gun set up solves 90% of your problems with painting, clearing, and activation. If you learn how to set it up right (no matter what you are spraying) your time will never be wasted.
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member
  • loochlooch Posts: 1,847Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    You mentioned going to trade school for painting. Why not go to one of the forum sponsors for training . You would learn the entire process plus what you need to buy 
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member
    edited April 3
    @looch I plan on doing that as well. Wasn't sure how in depth the sponsor training would be in regards to prep, painting, mixing, spray setup, etc. Since that can be training all on its own
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,879Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Usually the forum sponsor can tailor training to your needs. These are guys that do this for a living, they know every portion of what you WANT to know. I am sure it only depends on how much time you have to spend, and what you are willing to pay for.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,766Administrator El Jefe
    Well...tech school for painting is not a bad idea...but you should probably learn to dip first or you are going to have to "Unlearn" a lot of what they teach you at those schools...remember they do not know jack about what we do and how it interfaces with what they do...most of the time it's not bad advice? But it's bad for what we do...
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member
    Sounds fair, i'll get through one of the sponsors' trainings first and then see if that still makes any sense to continue down that path.
  • studebakerstudebaker Posts: 3,226Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    Here's one difference... Automotive paint is applied thickly to 1) achieve gloss and 2) to build thickness for cutting and buffing. On hydrographics basecoat you want just enough paint to color your substrate. That's all... No more. As a matter of fact, you want it so thin that you can almost see the substrate color through it.
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member
    What are you guys' thoughts and opinions on mini/micro guns? Due to the fact I will be starting with smaller parts (Probably less then 1 cu ft), i'm wondering if the full size spray guns are going lay too large of a fan/spray pattern and will be shooting far more material and over spray then what i'll actually need on the part? I'm thinking a gun with a .6 or .8 tip like a SRiPro Lite Micro. Or is it better just to choke the larger guns down and have the versatility?
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,896Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    @kruppy yes you are correct. A mini gun for base and/or clear would be just fine.
  • kruppykruppy Posts: 15Member
    I think i'm going to go with a Ani-R150 for base since i already have the copper for and the GPi for activator. Assuming i'm going to start with water based paints, is the .8 nozzle a good place to start?
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